August 2, 1991: Interstate 68 Completed from Interstate 79

Interstate 68/79

On August 2, 1991, Interstate 68 was completed from Interstate 79 eastward through Monongalia and Preston counties into Maryland. The new expressway linked Morgantown to Hancock, Maryland, and connected northern West Virginia with Baltimore and Washington via I-70. I-68 was an upgrade to Route 48, which was completed in the 1970s as Corridor E. The Appalachian Corridor System was a ‘60s-era project by the Appalachian Regional Commission to tie together rural sections of Appalachia.

I-68 is West Virginia’s most recent addition to the interstate highway system. The entire process started as the brainchild of President Dwight Eisenhower, who’d witnessed the efficiency of Germany’s Autobahn highways during World War II. Eisenhower launched a mammoth construction project to connect every state with high-speed expressways. West Virginia voters committed their share of funding by passing nearly $1 billion worth of road-building amendments in 1969 and 1973.

Today, the West Virginia interstate system includes I-68; I-77, from Bluefield to Williamstown; I-64, which runs through Huntington and Charleston; I-79, connecting Charleston with Morgantown; and short stretches of I-70 in Ohio County and I-81 in Berkeley County.